“Highly engaging, deeply thoughtful, and beautifully written, Self-Devouring Growth helps us to understand the environmental dangers the planet faces not as something to be avoided or prevented, but as something to expect and to live through. Julie Livingston's thinking about environmental and other futures is a breath of fresh air and cuts across stale debates around economic development and environmental sustainability in a very original way.” — James Ferguson, author of Give a Man a Fish: Reflections on the New Politics of Distribution
“Julie Livingston's concept of ‘self-devouring growth’ will become an essential tool across many forms of scholarship—and for concerned earth dwellers across the planet. As Livingston puts it, “GROW! is a mantra so powerful that it obscures the destruction it portends.” Self-Devouring Growth tells of the failure of Botswana's public water system, strained by failing rains and pumped dry by mining and commercial beef rearing for export. Regarded as a success of development, Botswana is the ideal site for a parable of the Anthropocene.” — Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, coeditor of Feral Atlas: The More-than-Human Anthropocene
"Livingston has written a beautiful book, which speaks from Tswana cosmology towards the complexities of global problems, and that points towards forms of activism that we can all take forward." — Shannon Morreira, Africa Is a Country
"An imaginative parable about human society and life on Earth. . . . The author notes that everyone cries foul when poorer countries achieve a standard of living enjoyed elsewhere, yet the global inequality reflected in this complaint suggests the need for collective creative thinking about new forms of growth for life on Earth to survive. Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers."
— E. P. Renne, Choice
"I find self-devouring growth a powerful and clarifying concept. I’m more accustomed to thinking about the climate change emergency through numbers, like the temperature beyond which the earth must not warm, or the number of tons of carbon we can safely put into the atmosphere. Instead, Livingston illuminates our way of life. She is asking a lot of the reader: she is asking us to understand that many of the things that make us feel well, prosperous, and secure are the very things that are killing us. . . . It is deeply unsettling to live with." — Emily Callaci, Dissent
"Livingston has forged a path into an anthropology of futures, one responsive to and reflective of the Anthropocene and the threats to human survival we witness daily on our ever-more vulnerable planet. She offers methodological and conceptual tools that will enable other scholars to grapple with futures, those that are unfolding now because of self-devouring growth, and those we want to imagine differently. This book is for everyone." — Sharon R. Kaufman, Medical Anthropology Quarterly